Windows 11 Will Soon Block All Default Browser Workarounds

Microsoft really wants you to use Edge. It wants you to use it so badly that it’s making switching your default browser an incredibly annoying process. And those workarounds that are out there? You can forget about those soon.

RELATED: How to Change the Default Web Browser on Windows 11

Daniel Aleksandersen, the creator of EdgeDeflector, wrote a blog post (h/t Thurrott). He said the latest Windows 11 Insider Preview builds prevent apps like EdgeDeflector and other workarounds from getting around Microsoft’s complicated process of changing the default browser and fighting off “microsoft-edge:// links.” Here’s what the post says:

Something changed between Windows 11 builds 22483 and 22494 (both Windows Insider Preview builds.) The build changelog makes a few mentions of changes to the protocol and file associations/default apps system. However, it omitted the headline news: You can no longer bypass Microsoft Edge using apps like EdgeDeflector.

RELATED: Mozilla Backs Off on Firefox's Default Browser Workaround [Update: Mozilla's Response]

With the current workarounds, such as EdgeDeflector and Firefox’s trick, the tools intercept OS-level URL requests that force you to use Microsoft Edge. EdgeDeflector Developer Aleksandersen says, “EdgeDeflector is an app that intercepts microsoft-edge:// links — found throughout the Windows 10 and 11 shells and other Microsoft apps — and redirects them to regular https:// links that open in your default web browser. Microsoft uses these links instead of regular web links to force users to open them in its Microsoft Edge web browser.”


Aleksandersen also says, “Windows 10 and 11 no longer care about the default web browser setting,” which is sure to make lots of users extremely upset.

Currently, this change is in Insider builds 22483 and 22494, so they’re on their way to the final version of Windows 11. Of course, Microsoft could change its mind and decide that the user outrage isn’t worth making the change, but only time will tell.

RELATED: Windows 11's Taskbar Is Getting a "Share" Button for Teams

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Dave LeClair
Dave LeClair is the News Editor for How-To Geek. He started writing about technology more than 10 years ago. He's written articles for publications like MakeUseOf, Android Authority, Digitial Trends, and plenty of others. He's also appeared in and edited videos for various YouTube channels around the web. Read Full Bio »